The Institute of Automotive Engineer Assessors (IAEA) recently celebrated its 90th anniversary, on Saturday, 20th May.
To begin, guests were treated to a lavish lunch, and then IAEA president, Darren Power, welcomed delegates to the event and introduced Andrew Marsh Hon FIAEA, FIMI, as the afternoon’s host and moderator. Marsh commenced with a captivating address that transported the audience back to 1932, the institute’s founding year. He emphasised how the vehicles of that era, although sharing fundamental features like “four wheels, somewhere to sit, and a steering wheel,” bear little resemblance to today’s modern vehicles.
Marsh highlighted the IAEA’s commitment to staying up-to-date and remaining relevant amidst the ever-advancing technology in the automotive industry. He concluded by posing a question to the attendees – ‘what did they want for the future of the IAEA to meet this technology challenge?’
With Andrew Marsh bringing the audience up to present times, he handed the floor to Dr James Carton, Assistant Professor in sustainable energy at Dublin City University, who focused on the future of vehicles, notably the transition from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to new technologies. He discussed how popular SUVs are gradually being replaced by more mid-sized vehicles and emphasised the crucial role of urban planning in shaping the cars of the future.
He then provided information on how Hydrogen as a fuel could power future vehicles, the engineering involved, the advantages that such vehicles could offer and the challenges they may face. This included a comparison of the advantages of pure electric and hydrogen fuel cell (FCEV) systems – pointing out that both systems use a Li-ion battery, although the FCEV battery is typically smaller.
Continuing with the theme of Hydrogen and with a Toyota Mirai FCEV having been driven expertly into the conference room, Phil Briggs from Toyota GB showed via images of the hydrogen tank, fuel cell and Li-ion battery locations, providing an insight into the complexity lurking beneath the skin. Andrew Marsh made the point this low-production volume vehicle has been through a full set of Euro NCAP tests to gain five stars – a properly engineered vehicle.
Chris Weeks, executive director of the NBRA, provided an animated explanation of the role that the NBRA plays and sought the audience’s viewpoints on various topics, including their perceptions towards insurance companies and those that run body shops. Chris sought a way forward where there would be less friction between insurers and collision repairers, which of course, also applies to ATFs too. A suggested way forward could be to create a bridge between estimators and vehicle damage assessors.
Following a short break, the panel discussion commenced, with Chris Weeks joined by Kirst McKnow (Cogent Hire), Jeff Mack (Nationwide Vehicle Assistance), David Punter (president-elect of the IAEA), and Dr James Carton. Guided by Andrew Marsh, they shared their perspectives on interacting with electric vehicles (EVs) within their organisations.
Andrew Marsh steered them through the discussion, asking for their viewpoints when coming into contact with EVs within their organisations. Jeff Mack highlighted the need for improved education regarding the recovery of EVs from the roadside, while Kirsty commented on the readiness of the supply chain for EVs in the country. Chris Weeks emphasised the importance of collective action to address the challenges presented by EVs, and David Punter raised concerns about Salvage Agents’ reluctance to handle electric vehicles due to associated risks.
As the conversation unfolded, Kirsty raised the issue of diminution value as a result of vehicle values falling after the recent boom, as well as the effect of technology change in the near future on existing vehicles. Jeff called for cooperation, especially among manufacturers and insurers, to share critical safety information on electrified vehicles, while David and Chris emphasised the need for cooperation, especially regarding the difficulties of approaching government departments and the potential EV ‘bomb’ in the various connotations it faced. Overall, whilst there are many sources of training and information, the whole sector is not ‘up to speed’ yet.
To celebrate the IAEA’s milestone of reaching its 90th year, it was rightly honoured with a gala dinner, where awards were announced not only for this year but also for previous years back to 2019 when the annual event could not be held due to Covid-19 as well as the death of EIIR.
With the formalities concluded, the attendees joyfully danced the night away to the tunes of The Recollections, blending modern classics with music from the past.
The IAEA‘s ability to remain an important and relevant organisation for 90 years, continuously adapting to the challenges posed by advancing motor vehicles, suggests that reaching its centenary is well within its reach.
All images courtesy of the IAEA